Monday, July 17th, 2023

“Gosh, that’s a big Buddha!”

Photograph of a big Buddha statue sat on a plinth, crossed legged in meditation

While there's no official state religion in Japan, both Shinto and Buddhism cast a long shadow over the culture. The country is full of temples, shrines and statues of the Buddha.

Some are quite large.

This sits on a hillside in Kobe, keeping watch over a cemetery. It stands four or five metres tall, and is visible from roads and hillsides nearby. So visible that the first time I saw it I knew I had to visit.

After months (years) of putting it off, I put my walking shoes on and away I went. According to Google Maps it's a 45 minute walk. After a bit of a detour and a few pauses, it was more like an hour.

The area itself is pretty cool. Up on the mountainside it offers spectacular views of Kobe. There's not much around other than trees and gravestones. Which is beautiful in its own right. A perfect place to just sit and admire the view for half an hour before heading back.

It might not be a definitive tourist destination, but if you are passing pop by for a look.

Oh, and the title? It's what one of my daughters said when she saw it.

My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction. Find out more.